Over the years, the relationship between HR and Finance departments has suffered from misconceptions of the role and impact each plays in an organization; limited understanding of administrative pressures (Sarbanes-Oxley or Safe Harbor), and general mistrust of one another. Look at what Shari Caudron had to say in a 1996 (that’s 20 years ago!) article written for the Business Finance magazine:

“In far too many organizations, warring adversaries is exactly what the [Finance and HR] departments have become. Separated by sky-high functional silos, finance people typically think HR folks take up space that should be reserved for more valuable professionals….Human resources specialists, on the other hand, think the finance department is filled with a bunch of pencil-necked bean counters whose sole enjoyment in life comes from saying “no” to every requested project.”

Think about your organization. When a manager asks the question below, do you get two completely different perspectives?


Is this how the HR and Finance relationship will continue in perpetuity? What can be done to bring the two functions closer together? To learn more about what steps to take next, consider registering for Wednesday’s IHRIM webinar, “A Marriage Made in Heaven: Enabling the Partnership between HR and Finance” presented by Catherine Honey, Executive Director of People Advisory Services at Ernst & Young.

In theory, the HR and Finance functions should share a common goal, that of driving business outcomes (financial improvement, competitive advantage, risk minimization, etc.) by optimizing how investments are made in sourcing, developing, and retaining talent. The CFO may wear many hats in pursuing that goal, from devising budgets to advising on strategy and measuring the results of those investments. From my experience, HR leaders rarely lead headcount budgeting and planning but are responsible for setting, executing, and evaluating the talent strategy.

Wednesday’s webinar will illustrate whether we are making progress towards strong collaboration. Citing the results of a global survey of 550 CFOs and CHROs in 26 countries, and supplemented by in-depth interviews with leaders in both functions, highlights of the research that Catherine will cover include:

  • Why CFOs and CHROs have better relationships at high-performing companies than those at organizations falling behind
  • The organizational characteristics (size, global reach) and talent issues that influence the likelihood of stronger partnerships
  • Business metrics most commonly influenced by closer ties

Diving into these topics in more depth, Catherine will also share the four attributes that set high-performing companies – those with strong HR/Finance relationships – apart.

While I am not in a position to give away the answers here, I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the attributes relates to the wider adoption, and greater use, of workforce analytics as a tool to rigorously assess talent performance and productivity. Better collaboration can also feed the strategic workforce planning process, with CFOs actively engaging in discussions of talent supply and demand.

The webinar concludes with ten steps that both CFOs and CHROs can take to improve their relationship.

Registration closes on Tuesday night, so please sign up now to join the webcast.

Published in General